Young mum seeks collaborative solution to housing

Mum of three, Deb Karajas, was so concerned with poor housing options for families like hers in Perth’s inner city, that she decided to act, and this month launched an advocacy group called Housing for People.

Renting a house from Deb’s parents, the family considers themselves lucky to have secure, affordable housing in the Highgate area. However, a desire for more sharing and socialising with neighbours prompted Deb to research urban co-housing.

Meanwhile, many of the Karajas’ friends are desperate for the stability of home-ownership but are finding precious few affordable options that meet the needs of families.

To help fill this gap, Deb set out to seek expressions of interest from people who would be interested in a collaborative housing development in Perth’s inner north.

Launching a survey via the Housing for People Facebook page, Deb is gathering data on interested buyers’ budgets and must-haves and is hoping to find a landowner to partner with.

“I approached Nightingale in Melbourne, and they advised that if I could show there was enough demand then they would consider a project in this area,” explained Deb.

“That for me set the wheels in motion.

“There is a big appetite in my community for more socially connected and sustainable housing. Many of us with a lower budget are happy to live in apartments in order to stay in the high-amenity neighbourhoods we know and love, but they need to be genuinely liveable for families with kids.”

Director for WA Apartment Advocacy Samantha Reece stated that the trial at Oracle had shown that apartments could work well for families, but often the price tag of over $1 million for three bedrooms was a major barrier.

“I really admire Deb because we often hear government agencies and developers speak about providing affordable housing and yet no one is actually putting this into practice,” Ms Reece said.

“Families like Deb’s are forced to choose between insecure rentals, unsuitable dwellings, or low-amenity locations with long commutes, so it is encouraging to see citizen power being harnessed to create more housing choice.”

Those who would like to complete the Housing for People survey can do so on link:

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